AND so to league reconstruction.

My heid is so boiling with it that I cannot stop whistling. They keep calling out the numbers of 14, 16, 12, 10 etc like some sort of mad bingo that nobody ever wins.

''It is like the Schleswig-Holstein question,'' I muttered to the sports editor. He had no idea of what I was saying. This is a change. He normally has no idea when reading something I have written.

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I was, of course, referring to a 19th century dispute over territory. Lord Palmerston, who, given the chance, would spend most of his Sunday morning at Saracen Cross boring everyone before the pubs opened, once said something vaguely interesting about it.

"The Schleswig-Holstein question is so complicated, only three men in Europe have ever understood it. One was Prince Albert, who is dead. The second was a German professor who became mad. I am the third and I have forgotten all about it."

I feel the same way about league reconstruction. It is supposed to bring the fans back but I have never heard anyone saying: "I'll go back and watch United when the league splits after 22 games." Maybe I have been keeping the wrong company. And listening to Lord Palmerston, who is more of a Juniors man.

The idea of changing the leagues is to bring fans back but it is as flawed as the other ideas for change.

In the spirit of Scottish positivity, here are a magnificent seven of the best ideas and the reasons they will fail.


This is the best idea but it means all matches have to be played outside of Scotland as we do not have a summer but a system of 12-12-18, that is 12 days of light rain, 12 days of light hail and 18 days of light snow. The only Scottish game played in the summer is the annual Holidaymakers v Waiters match in Benidorm.


It now costs the best part of 50 quid for two people to watch an SPL match. For that sort of dosh one could put a down payment on a project entitled Getting A Life. Thus taking the family not only costs a lot of money but – given the cold and the Spartan conditions – may also invite an intervention by the social work department. To entice the entirely rational, admission prices should be abolished to be replaced by a system of paying people to watch. It still may not work.


This is a flawed concept. If the punter wanted to be entertained he/she would not be at a football match. But it has to be admitted that half-time entertainment is hardly of the calibre of Sinatra at the Sands or Elvis giving an aloha from Hawaii. Most dancers look as if they have been the victims of a cattle prod, possibly the only inducement to get them on the park in the first place. And the scintillating excitement of the raffle draw has waned down the years. The shoot-outs between fat fans would only be entertaining if the losers had to pay a forfeit of having a gastric band fitted without anaesthetic.

4improve THE PURVEY

This has merit but the Scottish football fan does not have the stomach for it. He has the stomach, though, for everything else. A balanced, healthy diet would rob the punter of that traditional half-time game of Find Shergar in the Burger.


These only are allowed to occur fitfully. Most fans find this an ideal time to take their punishment so obviously games are scheduled for every other moment of the day. The opening lines of George Orwell's review of the 1984 season begins: ''It was a bright cold day at Hampden, and the clocks were striking thirteen.''


Fans are always quoted as saying they want to watch the young boys come through. They don't. They want to watch their team win. If everyone wanted to watch a young team, the under-15 matches would be a sell-out.


My plan is simple. Just keep it the way it is. After all, if it is changed it is only a matter of time before someone comes up with a revolutionary plan to change it back.